CHOOSING A BUILDER –
KEY QUESTIONS THAT YOU SHOULD ASK…
Is the builder genuine, suitable and qualified for your project?
Reputation and experience matter. An established builder who has built a strong reputation will be recognised within the local market and community. Speak to customers who have completed projects comparable to your own. Did the builder manage quality, cost and time? Consider references from other professionals such as local architects. The builder should have trade membership of relevant professional organisations, suitable insurances, be able to offer a contract
and relevant guarantees.
How does the builder approach setting standards for craftsmanship, products and materials?
Company philosophy counts. Quality work is only achieved through quality materials, sound construction methods and skilled craftsmen. Who will take responsibility for joining these elements together? Attitudes of craftsmen, foremen and managers will be reflected in all stages of your project. Some you might never see, so you need to be sure that your builder is a professional partner with an instinct for quality and transparency, not shortcuts. (“According to the Office of Fair Trading, cowboy builders cost UK households a staggering £1.6bn (approximately) in shoddy workmanship that has to be rectified”)
Do the quotes offer comparable products and service?
The more thorough and detailed your quotation, the more able you are to choose how, and on what, you spend your money. Discuss the details to ensure you know what is and what isn’t included. Be sure you are comparing apples with apples.
Will my project stay within my budget and time constraints?
Your builder should provide a complete breakdown of costs and a target programme for your project at the tendering stage. Most projects require some tailoring along the way to allow for unseen changes in the programme. Your builder should account to you for these, explain how they will affect the project and allow you choice at all times.
Does the builder’s reputation translate into value?
A builder’s additional skills and knowledge are an asset to you.
Can he communicate knowledgably with the architect and engineer, and offer useful suggestions? Is he is open to innovation, staying current with the latest advances in products and practices? Does he incorporate energy efficient and green practices in to his work?
How should I pay my builder?
Payments terms should be agreed clearly in writing. Expect to make stage/milestone payments, but not up-front payments for uncompleted work. The exception to this may be for custom made, pre-ordered products.